Questions tagged [atmosphere]

Questions regarding an envelope of gasses surrounding a celestial body held in place by the body's gravity.

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65
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3answers
40k views

What will be the effect if we stand on Jupiter?

As we all know Jupiter is a gaseous gas giant and it has a large mass, almost twice the sum of all other planets in the Solar system. So, if it happens that we go to Jupiter and as we know it does not ...
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4answers
12k views

Could we breathe an atmosphere that is not nitrogen based?

As I understand it, the important part of Earth's atmosphere that we breathe is the oxygen. However, Earth's air is only about 21% oxygen with the rest made up of about 78% nitrogen and 1% other gases,...
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7answers
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Why is the breathing atmosphere of the ISS a standard atmosphere (at 1 atm containing nitrogen)?

The Wikipedia page for the International Space Station says that it has a fairly Earth-like, sea-level atmosphere: 21% oxygen, balance nitrogen at 101.3 kPa. Supposedly it's because a pure-oxygen ...
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3answers
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Effect of atmospheric drag on rocket launches and benefits of high altitude launch sites

What is the approximate influence of atmospheric drag on the cost of rocket launches? Is it beneficial to have launch sites located at higher altitudes? Cape Canaveral is at sea level, but I've ...
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2answers
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Why didn’t the Spacecraft used for the Apollo 11 mission melt in the Earth’s Atmosphere?

My brother has recently been converted to a Flat Earther and is convinced that something that proves his theory is the moon landings being faked by NASA. I have managed to counter argue the majority ...
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3answers
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Could the Moon keep an atmosphere?

When we think of terraforming a body in our galaxy Mars gets lots of consideration as the closest potential body. But what about the Moon? It is currently beyond our ability to add an atmosphere ...
28
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3answers
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Is the “airship to orbit” mission profile feasible?

By one of those weird coincidences, I had been on JP Aerospace's site mere hours before reading this question about space dirigibles here. Their mission plan seems too good to be true. They are ...
25
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8answers
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Would a settlement on Mars need to import Nitrogen?

The air on Earth is about 20% oxygen and about 78% nitrogen. Best case, there seems to be sufficient oxygen (in water) to support colonization in the polar ice caps. What about the other 4/5 of the ...
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How does Venus' thick atmosphere survive against the solar wind?

The traditional explanation for rocky inner planets and large gaseous outer planets is that the outer planets are farther from the Sun, and therefore can hold onto large atmospheres that don't get ...
23
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2answers
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Why not increase contact surface when reentering the atmosphere?

If a craft were to increase the surface area where contact is made with air during reentry, I imagine the heat quantity per area unit would decrease, making the use of (heavy) heat shields less of a ...
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Why does Titan have an atmosphere?

Why does Titan have an atmosphere given its relatively small mass (comparable to our moon)? Why is it not lost to space or is Titan's atmosphere constantly being replenished?
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Is wind-power a viable backup power source for Mars One?

A question related to What power source options provide reliable and sustainable power generation for a Martian Colony, particularly the answer that solar and nuclear based energy sources being the ...
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1answer
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Has the Earth's red atmosphere rim ever been photographed?

In the Wikipedia article on Lunar eclipse there's given an image of how the Earth would look from the eclipsed Moon: This is obviously a schematic drawing. So I wonder, has the Earth ever been ...
19
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1answer
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Air in International Space Station

How do astronauts/cosmonauts manage the atmosphere at the International Space Station as their missions are years long, versus shorter flights? Do they recycle? Import via cargo vessels? Electrolyze ...
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Maximum survivable atmospheric pressure

Given a similar mix of gases to those in our Earth's atmosphere, what is the upper limit of survivable atmospheric pressure for a human? Could a human survive higher pressures with a gas mix unlike ...
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2answers
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Would terraforming Venus destroy its ionosphere?

In "Can Venus be made habitable?" we see that Venus's atmosphere would have to be substantially altered in order to terraform Venus. "Why has Venus's atmosphere not been stripped away by solar wind?" ...
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5answers
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Is atmospheric skimming for propellant feasible?

A recent comment in a discussion of satellite refueling mentioned the possiblity of a spacecraft dipping into the atmosphere from LEO to obtain oxygen. Similarly, the science fiction RPG Traveller ...
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2answers
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Can it be said that Venus is covered by an ocean rather than atmosphere?

At Venusian temperatures and pressures, CO2 becomes supercritical. This means it behaves as a dense liquid yet has no clear upper bound and continuously becomes gas with height. Can we thus say that ...
17
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3answers
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How do you 'make oxygen' on Mars?

This morning's BBC News says that a 2020 rover mission to Mars will "make oxygen". There is a brief line indication that it will extract it from atmospheric CO₂, but no other details. What process ...
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4answers
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Are there any known atmospheres that would support traditional combustion engines?

If we landed a traditional automobile on the moon, the combustion engine would lack oxygen, and, for obvious reasons, would not function. I'm wondering if a planet terrestrial body exists where we ...
16
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3answers
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How can an *increase* in atmospheric temperature cause an *increase* in the atmospheric mass density?

We often hear that heating Earth's atmosphere from solar activity or CMEs increases the mass density of the atmosphere at a given altitude, causing orbiting spacecraft to lose altitude faster from ...
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4answers
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When did planetary scientists realize Venus' surface pressure was almost 100x that on Earth? How did they find out?

The question Surface of Venus - what would it look like to see a spacecraft crushed by the atmospheric pressure? is a good one! That plus comments below this answer got me thinking first about just ...
16
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1answer
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Why do some meteors explode in air?

I was reading about the Tunguska and Chelyabinsk meteors and I wonder what would cause a meteor to explode in the air, instead of hitting the surface?
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4answers
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Why is it not possible to deorbit in a shallow glidepath?

The fiery re-entry of spacecraft has been a staple of spaceflight since the beginning, making ablative heat shielding a necessary component of any craft wishing to return to Earth intact. This is the ...
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2answers
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Flying on dense atmosphere planets & moons

Would certain types of flying be possible on planets like Venus, Titan (which is a moon, I know :P), or gas-giants? I'm thinking on the aspects of these types of aircrafts: airships (that uses only ...
15
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2answers
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Could you feel the wind on Mars?

The air pressure on Mars is about 1% that of Earth's at sea level. But wind speeds on Mars can be higher, up to maybe 60 mph sustained (actually I have come across several different figures, some ...
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4answers
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Could we see the surface of Venus after the explosion of a H-bomb in its atmosphere?

The dense atmosphere of Venus is mainly composed of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, with clouds made of sulfuric acid droplets, which make optical observation of the surface impossible. As can be seen ...
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5answers
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What level of oxygen in a planetary atmosphere would be indicative of life?

Astronomical spectroscopy can be used to determine the chemical composition of far away bodies. In the related question Can we detect atmosphere on exoplanets? we learned that even now we are studying ...
14
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1answer
649 views

Could helmet-fogging occur on Mars, or on any other celestial body with an atmosphere?

When I drive in cold/wet weather the state of the roads is cause for concern. But more worrying is the risk of the wind-screen fogging over when least it should. Space/Earth orbit is a different ...
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3answers
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Is it more challenging to put an airship in the Uranian than in the Venusian atmosphere?

The Soviet Union's (in cooperation with some European governments like France and West Germany) Vega missions put balloons in the atmosphere of Venus back in 1985. It was 30 years ago, the last ...
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4answers
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When does an aerobraking space craft create a sonic boom?

There are a lot of variables with the speed of sound, a sonic boom is created when all of those variables meet. the speed of sound, a critical speed known as Mach 1, and is approximately 1,225 km/h ...
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2answers
452 views

At what altitude does transonic compressibility become a non-issue?

I know that on the forthcoming SpaceX attempt at sea landing the first stage, they have added hypersonic fins to the first stage. I was curious as to what altitude transonic compressibility is an ...
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2answers
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Bounce off the atmosphere at reentry?

I am just watching Space Race part 3 and the cosmonauts just got their first view of Wostok. The scientist who designed the retrorockets told the soon-to-be spacemen that the rockets would have to be ...
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2answers
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Is Mars' gravity strong enough to hold a human-breathable atmosphere?

If we ever try to make Mars outdoors habitable, won't the air just keep flying off into the outer space because of low gravity?
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2answers
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Do we have instruments that can measure the depth of storms like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter and the Great Dark Spot on Neptune?

I understand if technology isn't quite there yet. If it isn't, is there any research being developed along these lines? I'm trying to wrap my head around the composition of these planets, and the ...
12
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1answer
432 views

Does Venus have doldrums or horse latitudes (latitudes with lower winds)?

Because of all the heat fueling convection cells, Venus has some brisk winds especially in the upper atmosphere (up to 370 km/h). I realize the winds are quite slow at the surface, but are there any ...
12
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1answer
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How long will it be light on Venus at night?

The atmosphere of Earth bends light such that there is still light after the sun goes down for a period of time. How would such effects appear on Venus, given the thicker atmosphere?
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2answers
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How much sunlight gets to the surface of Titan? What would astronauts see?

Saturn being at 10 A.U. means sunlight on Titan's cloud tops is about 1/100 that on Earth's. That's 4000 times the illumination of Earth's moon. Titan's atmosphere is described as opaque smog. If ...
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4answers
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Boiling ponds and pools on Mars?

In the related questions Can you take a bath on Mars? & How would swimming on Mars feel, given the lower gravity? we learn that bathing and swimming on Mars is much like it is on Earth. Some ...
11
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2answers
990 views

Why not bring life to the atmosphere of Venus along with the next exploring mission?

Why not bring cyanobacteria and fertilizer to the atmosphere of Venus to improve conditions for life there by producing oxygen ? Planetary protection could be a reason. According to Wikipedia: ...
11
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1answer
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Why is the Karman line for Mars defined higher than for Earth?

In an answer to a similar question, the Karman Line for Mars is stated as being at 125km compared to 122km for Earth. However, Mars has an atmospheric pressure about 1/10 that of Earth, its ...
11
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1answer
404 views

Do atmospheric tides have any impact on orbiting satellites or rocket launches?

Wikipedia has an article on atmospheric tides but it is mostly earth based considerations. I was wondering if they have any impact on satellites or rocket launches? We know that satellites in Low ...
11
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1answer
380 views

What causes Pluto's atmosphere to recede/collapse?

An answer to this question sparked my curiosity. Pluto's atmosphere seems to come and go depending on its orbital position and distance from the Sun. If the heat up from coming closer to the Sun ...
11
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1answer
259 views

Are there microclimates with better weather conditions on Mars?

On Earth, a microclimate mostly refers to an area which differs from the surrounding areas in temperature or humidity. And what about Mars ? Are there places with atmospheric conditions that are ...
11
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2answers
333 views

Does atmospheric entry shake the craft?

Does atmospheric entry shake the craft or does the process force the craft to fly in a straight line without causing vibrations? Sci-fi movies and all have the craft shake very slightly. It would ...
11
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1answer
290 views

Is airglow always visible from space?

Looking at time lapses taken from the International Space Station, I discovered that the Earth's atmosphere can glow at night, even when it seems that those pictures were taken far away from auroras. ...
10
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1answer
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If Mars had more atmosphere how warm would it be?

Looking at Venus, Earth and Mars, the closer you are to the sun the warmer you are. At the same time the warmer planets also have thicker atmospheres. ...
10
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1answer
586 views

Will Pluto's atmosphere collapse prior to New Horizon's visiting it?

It is thought that Pluto's atmosphere will freeze as it moves further from the Sun. We know that Pluto was it's closest to the Sun in the 1990's. Is it known if the atmosphere will freeze prior to New ...
10
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3answers
436 views

Strategies for combating ESD and ground plane potential shifts on spacecraft charging?

What are some common design guidelines/practices to combat the electrical effects of spacecraft charging(e.g. ESD, ground plane shift). Is it to focus on more resilient parts, and reduce resistance/...
10
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3answers
602 views

Will uncovering the ice deposit in Utopia Planitia improve the climate on Mars?

In 2016 a large ice deposit has been found within the Utopia Planitia region on Mars by the SHARAD instrument on board of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The thickness of the deposit ranges from ...